John Clayton: What we’ve learned halfway through Seahawks’ preseason
The Seahawks have closed in to the halfway point of the preseason.
Competition on the field has been good. Each day, the defense and the offense challenge each other on the field, leading to practices that clearly satisfy coach Pete Carroll. But as it is in so many camps, injuries have been as issue. The Seahawks have had as many as 18 players not practicing.
Let’s review what we’ve learned about the team during the first half of camp and the preseason.
• Despite some minor injuries that temporarily sidelined cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Neiko Thorpe, the pass coverage has been good. Cornerbacks particularly had a great day Wednesday – receivers kept trying to go downfield, and the corners would be in perfect position and would break up the play. Rookie Tre Flowers, who is transitioning from playing safety in college, looked exceptionally good on those plays.
• The finger surgery that will sideline first-round pick Rashaad Penny the remainder of the preseason is a setback, but not a major one. Chris Carson was destined to win the starting job at halfback, so Penny was going to be gradually integrated into the backfield. Penny’s absence will give C.J. Prosise, who returned to practice from injury Wednesday, a better chance to show his value if he can stay healthy. Missing the preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts might have put Prosise toward the back of the line, but Penny’s injury helps his chances in the position battle.
• Assistant head coach Clint Hurtt thinks the Seahawks are six deep at the defensive tackle position as far as NFL-caliber talent. Jarran Reed is set to have a breakout year. Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen add starting experience at DT. Nazair Jones is a big, talented player who can rush and bat down passes. Quinton Jefferson is having a good camp. Poona Ford is an undrafted player who has a good chance of making the team.
• Defensive end remains a concern, particularly with Carroll saying he won’t know Dion Jordan’s status for another three weeks. The Seahawks have been looking for a veteran edge-rusher who could be used at outside linebacker and at defensive end, and combining that with Jordan’s injury, the signing of Erik Walden this week made a lot of sense. Marcus Smith has missed time with injuries, too, while Rasheem Green has made a big move toward playing time with his sack-and-a-half game against the Colts and his work in practice.
• The right side of the offensive line still looks shaky. D.J. Fluker got off to a good start at right guard, but Germain Ifedi hasn’t taken a big step forward. With injuries to Isaiah Battle and Jamarco Jones, Rees Odhiambo and Willie Beavers are the only healthy challengers to Ifedi at right tackle.
• Marcus Johnson is making some moves to make the team at wide receiver. Not only is he fast, but he is showing that he has good hands. Jaron Brown and Brandon Marshall are looking like locks to make the team – the 34-year-old Marshall keeps getting better and better each day – and David Moore still looks good.
• General manager John Schneider is going back to his ways in 2010 when he made more than 240 transactions. So far, he’s made around three dozen transactions since the start of camp. One of the more interesting additions he has made is free safety Lorenzo Jerome, who is in the mix to make the team.